The snow has finally melted, and it’s almost time for golf. What’s your handicap? Is it trending up, flat or on a steady decline? Have you made any adjustments to address the problems or do you think practice will fix everything?
But if you keep practicing bad habits, nothing will change. Practicing bad habits in golf (or sales) will not improve your game.
Are your sales flat and you can’t seem to get growth back in your business? If so, it is time to update your sales process. Top line revenue can be affected by many factors, but the sales process is a reoccurring piece that adds to businesses handicaps. Often a sales process is implemented, but it remains stagnant and unadaptable when the business climate changes around you. Reviewing your sales process on an annual basis will enable you to improve your process based on market conditions, company goals and strategies, and other factors that have an impact.
Let’s take a deeper dive:
When you are ready to update your sales process, the following provides a framework for making adjustments:
Step 1: Make your sales process customer focused. A sales process that is internally designed with “generic” sales steps will not optimize the sales team in targeting the most profitable opportunities, and will negatively impact the conversion rate.
Understanding the customer decision making process will help the sales team build the right steps to help accelerate the sales process. Take the time to identify and define the characteristics of an “ideal” customer. These attributes ensure your sales team is spending time with the right prospects. Time is important, and having the sales team know what type of customers are preferable and which customers to walk away from will improve productivity and maximize profitability.
Step 2: Identify the decision makers and the key influencers for your ideal customer. It is critical to map out the buyer persona. Knowing how, when and why they buy the solution helps you back into an appropriate sales process. Your sales process must be focused on the value of your solution to their business. Understanding the “who” will help develop the steps in the sales process along with the necessary deliverables/enablement tools to move the sales process forward.
Step 3: Document and regularly update the sales process. Does the sales team know the steps? Is it clearly defined how to move through the selling process? What are the actionable steps to move the deal forward? By answering these questions, the sales process becomes a predictable, repeatable and scalable sequence of events that removes guesswork and uncertainty. This document now becomes a common language for everyone. Now your team has a predictable, repeatable roadmap for success and alignment. In addition, the onboarding of a new sales professional becomes easier and faster.
Step 4: Map the sales process to a CRM. There are many CRMs available to small businesses. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but customizing the CRM for your unique sales process is important. Buying without customizing is like borrowing a set of golf clubs to play a match versus using your customized clubs that have been specified for your golf game. You might score well with the borrowed clubs, but your own clubs would have made significantly better results. It’s all about optimizing the outcome. With customized tools, sales professionals will be more effective and close larger, more profitable deals faster. In addition, you will have all the benefits of the CRM to document, understand and analyze your sales pipeline for improvement.
Finally: Seek input from your team. Sales professionals are driven problem solvers. They have real world application of that knowledge and each one of them brings an element of creativity to any sales situation. Use their expertise to capture the best practices and incorporate them into the sales process to get the best results across the board.
Bottomline: There is always room for improvement and adjustment. An optimally-designed, customer-focused, sales process is one of best the ways to help maximize sales productivity and effectiveness. Understanding the importance of a customer-focused sales process custom fit for your business is taking the right steps to continued revenue growth. At Sales Xceleration, we work with companies to help them design a sales process for their business and grow revenue faster.
Want to learn more about sales consulting and sales strategy? Read about various sales topics in our sales consulting blog.